When winter arrives in the UK and the weather turns, there are a number of property hazards that you may want to look out for. Staying on top of property maintenance can help you catch issues early and avoid having to claim on your landlord insurance.
Having a maintenance schedule in place can protect your investment, and tenants, against a range of property pitfalls, including those that may be more likely during the winter months.
The follow have been identified by leading property insurers as the top winter hazards facing property owners:
- loss of roof tiles
- water penetration due to poorly maintained flat roofs
- guttering and chimney stack damage
- problems with walls and outbuildings including damage to garden cabins/sheds, garages and greenhouses and
- damage to garden equipment.
What property hazards should I look out for in winter?
Research shows that many landlords leave their properties, and therefore their investment, at risk of damage. Each property can differ when it comes to key weaknesses during colder weather however, the above mentioned common issues to watch out for are explained in more detail below:
Loose roof tiling – get a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Damaged, missing or loose tiles can cause serious damage in high winds.
Water damage – it’s key that any leak, severe condensation and/or mould is identified and fixed as soon as possible. Prolonged water exposure will cause serious damage to the structural health of your property, and potentially the health of your tenants, as exposure to mould can cause respiratory problems.
Blocked gutters – as the leaves fall from the trees, they can become clogged, preventing rainwater from draining properly. If left unchecked, this could lead to issues with your roof, including internal leaking.
Loose fence panels – fix or replace them if necessary. Fence panels can fly off in extreme win and cause damage to your home and potentially your neighbour’s property.
Secure loose objects in your garden or move them elsewhere – wind can play havoc with your garden furniture and ornaments; move them indoors or secure them.
Cut back branches – tall, overgrown trees and large bushes in your garden can cause damage in storms. Cut them back to reduce the chance of this happening.
Put up flood defences before bad weather arrives – you can find sandbag-like products to block doors and entrances.
Also keep an eye on the boiler in your rental property during the winter. The last thing you want is for your tenants to be left without heating and hot water, especially when the temperature has dropped.
Another issue to bear in mind is when water is left in the pipes and the heating is not on (perhaps you have student tenants that travel home for an extended break over Christmas, leaving your property empty), the water could freeze and later lead to burst pipes.
How can I protect my property from these winter perils?
A good place to start is regular maintenance checks. By taking a look around the interior and exterior of the property, you can keep an eye on its condition. The sooner you spot an issue, the better your chances of fixing it before it gets worse. You should especially consider performing a maintenance check soon after any extreme weather, such as heavy rain or snow.
Understandably, you can’t be at the property all the time to notice such issues however, you could encourage your tenants to be extra vigilant. Tell them to look out for signs of leaking pipes, damp patches and mould. You’d expect them to be in touch if these problems occur anyway, but there might be some areas that they don’t go into often, such as a loft, attic or hard to reach areas where the pipes are. Encouraging tenants to report any maintenance problems might also allow you to catch them early.
Help to avoid burst pipes by keeping the heating on at a constant temperature or by having the property professionally drained down if it is left empty for a while.
Sometimes damage to a property is inevitable, and you will have no choice but to pay for repair work. Having suitable landlord insurance in place might also provide you with the financial protection you need.
How can we help look after your rental property?
Part of the professional letting agent service from Mistoria Estate Agents includes managing any maintenance issues your property may require. We conduct thorough property inspections and the beginning, end and during any tenancy to ensure your property is being looked after and is fit for habitation.
Our dedicated maintenance team has inspected hundreds of properties and knows exactly what to look out for, ensuring your property is kept in top condition and is fit for purpose. We specialise in student accommodation Salford, however if you are a landlord of any sort and would like to discuss in more detail the service Mistoria Estate Agents can offer you, please contact us on 0800 500 3015.